(Fargo, ND) -- Each year, Essentia Health contracts with Professional Research Consultants to randomly survey patients about their experiences in their hospitals and clinics. PRC uses results from these surveys to rank Essentia physicians, staff and facilities within its national database of approximately 400 healthcare organizations.

“The past year has been a challenging one, with many shifts in the ways care has been delivered and received,” says Essentia Health CEO David C. Herman, MD. “One constant amid this change is the heartfelt compassion expressed by our colleagues as they deliver their care, and the gratitude for this care expressed by our patients. These awards speak both to culture of care among our colleagues, and the impact of our care upon our patients and communities. I am proud of this recognition of our colleagues, and the teamwork that supports the great care delivered at Essentia each day.”

In Essentia’s West Market, which encompasses eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, three providers received PRC’s Top Performer Award, meaning they scored at or above the 100th percentile for overall quality of care. Top Performers include:

  • Bangalore Vijayalakshmi, MD  |  Physiatry (Pain Management & Rehabilitation)  |  Fargo
  • Allison Klug, DC  |  Chiropractic Care  |  Fargo
  • Prasad Sawardeker, MD  |  Orthopedics & Sports Medicine  |  Fargo

Across the Essentia Health system, six providers were named Top Performers.

Additional honors were awarded to the following:

5-Star Award: Scoring in the top 10 percent (at or above the 90th percentile) of the PRC national client database for percentage of patients who rate the overall quality of care by the clinic/facility or unit/provider as “Excellent.”

  • Stefanie Gefroh Ellison, MD  |  Obstetrics & Gynecology  |  Fargo
  • Curtis Penney, DO  |  Neurology  |  Fargo
  • Amanda Swanson, CNM  |  Obstetrics & Gynecology  |  Fargo
  • Jennifer Janke, CNM  |  Obstetrics & Gynecology  |  Fargo
  • Jan Bexell-Gierke, MD  |  Obstetrics & Gynecology  |  Fargo
  • Stephen Linn, MD  |  Obstetrics & Gynecology  |  Fargo
  • Nathan Kobrinsky, MD  |  Pediatric Hematology/Oncology  |  Fargo
  • Zena Homan, MD  |  Obstetrics & Gynecology  |  Fargo
  • Penni Weston, CNP  |  Family Medicine/Long Term Care  |  Fargo
  • Jennifer Bednar, RD  |  Diabetes Educator  |  Fargo
  • Michael Sheldon, MD  |  Internal Medicine  |  Fargo

4-Star Award: Scoring in the top 25 percent (75th through 89th percentiles) for percentage of patients rating the overall quality of care of the unit/clinic/provider as “Excellent.”

  • Jordana Miller, CNP  |  Wound Care  |  Fargo
  • Zachary Ernst, MD  |  General Surgery  |  Fargo
  • Christopher DeCock, MD  |  Pediatric Neurology  |  Fargo
  • Paulina Kunecka, MD  |  Neurology  |  Fargo
  • Andrew Volin, CNP  |  Neurology  |  Fargo
  • Sarah Hanson, CNP  |  Family Medicine  |  Fargo
  • Anna Thomas, CNP  |  Family Medicine  |  Fargo
  • Lee Hofsommer, DPM  |  Podiatry  |  Fargo
  • Meghan Scheibe, MD  |  Rheumatology  |  Fargo
  • Patricia Scherrer, MD  |  Pediatrics  |  Fargo
  • Brittani Boehlke-Fiecke, PA-C  |  Breast Health/Hematology/Oncology  |  Fargo
  • Dave Akkerman, MD  |  Family Medicine  |  Fargo
  • Hans Bjellum, MD  |  Family Medicine/Occupational Medicine  |  Fargo
  • Richard Vetter, MD  |  Family Medicine  |  Fargo

The 2021 awards are based on patient surveys conducted throughout 2020.